Look after your travel document

Your passport is just as valuable as your credit card – treat it that way!

Keep it safe at all times, whether at home or travelling.


Why are passports so valuable?

Stolen and lost passports are highly valuable to terrorists and international criminals who use them to cross borders undetected.

In the wrong hands, your passport is like a weapon.

In several major terrorist attacks over recent decades, the perpetrators had travelled internationally using invalid passports to conceal their identity.

A lost or stolen passport can help:

  • fugitives to escape justice
  • foreign terrorist fighters to travel to or from conflict zones
  • human trafficking networks to get their victims across borders.

Even if no one tries to travel on your passport, it could still leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Someone could use your passport for criminal purposes, such as opening a bank account as part of a money laundering process.

What should I do if I lose my passport or it gets stolen?

Report a lost or stolen passport immediately to the police or other appropriate authority.

The procedure for reporting a lost/stolen passport will vary from country to country.

You may be able to cancel your passport online on your government’s official website. Or you may need to fill in a form at your local police station.

Find out what you need to do, and do it straight away!

How does reporting my passport make any difference?

When you report your passport as lost or stolen, the police in your country will enter this into their national database, in line with their national standard operating procedures.

Your country then shares this data with INTERPOL through our secure police network (known as “I-24/7”) and it goes into our SLTD database. The SLTD database contains information on travel and identity documents that have been reported as stolen, lost, revoked, invalid or stolen blank.

Law enforcement officials at frontline locations – such as airports and border crossings – in INTERPOL member countries can check a travel document against the SLTD database to see if it is valid, getting a result in seconds.

If the database search triggers a match, police can take follow-up action, for example, taking the passenger aside for questioning or further checks.

What should I do if I find my passport again?

If you have reported a lost passport and you find it again, report it to the police. Do NOT try to travel on it.

Why can’t I travel on the passport?

If you have reported your passport as lost or stolen, in line with your country’s national procedures, it will no longer be valid for travel.

If you try and use it, border police could call you aside for inspection, taking up time and causing stress, with no guarantee you will be able to continue your journey afterwards.

You could be denied boarding and miss your holiday, business trip, or other important reason for travelling. Added to that, you will have wasted money on tickets you can’t use.

EU support

This public awareness campaign is part of Project IDEA. Running from February 2019 to April 2022, Project IDEA was funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police.

The content of this page represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.